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G.S. Street--Fog 汉译

2015-06-10    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

G.S. Street--Fog 汉译


G.S. Street

An acquaintance has kindly informed me that there is in these scribblings of mine too much introspection, meditation, reflection. “Go out,” quoth he, “into the beautiful world, and write down what you see there.” I think he is wrong. There is far too much description done as it is. It is easy to go to a place and easy to write a sort of cataloguing description when one goes. Fitly to describe any visible thing whatever is the work of an artist, I question not. But artists are few and easy work is tempting: it seems well to me that some of us scribblers should sit at home and think. The result may not be magnificent, but there is sufficient rarity in the exercise to give it a sort of an odd flavour which may not be so dull to everybody as to my acquaintance. I always follow advice, however, and so, having received this, I took my hat and went out into the beautiful world, with the intention—but it really is a base intention—of writing down what I saw there.

Unfortunately there was a thick fog. Now the cultivated reader is assured, of course, that a London fog is a beautiful thing. But the only writing Londoner who has never described one may as well cling to this negative distinction. Besides, I doubt my aesthetic quality is old-fashioned. Curious, weird, interesting, I perceive a London fog to be: its beauty something eludes my gross vision. A mist, or a light  fugitive fantastic charm, but so has not a dense and isolating Vapour. I could write, with feeling and gratitude at least, of the beauty I saw at dusk, all last week, in the trees and distances of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. The lonely grace of the winter trees, their bare tracery, unspeakably delicate, clear against a purple or violet haze in the sky, and the pretty fairyland where the yellow lamps made spots of colour—all this was beauty wonderful and magical, and I blessed my lot for once that I could go and gaze on it day by day. Immediately thereafter to perceive that masses of dirty vapour had their beauty also was too swift a turn for my senses. So I will let the description alone. After all, it has been claimed for a fog that it is a blessing to men of letters, because it forces them in upon themselves, and this fog drove me once more to reflection, since it is fated I should disappoint my acquaintance.

Beauty or none, there is much to be said for a London fog. It gives us all that “change” which we are always needing. When our world is all but invisible, and growing visible bit by bit looks utterly different from its accustomed self, the stupidest of us all can hardly fail to observe a change for our eyes at least as great as there would have been in going to Glasgow. When, arriving at one’s house or one’s club, that monotonous diurnal incident seems an almost incredible feat, accomplished with profound relief and gratitude for a safe deliverance, one has at least an unaccustomed sensation. One is not a man going into his club, but a mariner saved from shipwreck at the last gasp, to be greeted with emotion by erst indifferent waiters. Yes , a fog gives Londoners a more thorough change than going to the Riviera to avoid it. Then it brings out the kindness and cheerfulness, which are their prime claim to honour, into strong relief. True, it also throws into relief the incomparable egoism of the prosperous among them. People with no serious cares or worries in the world of course bemoan and upbraid this trifling inconvenience. But the working, struggling Londoners, cabmen and ’busmen, you and I, display our indomitable good-humour to advantage. I stayed on top of a ’bus for half an hour in the block on Monday at Hyde Park Corner and talked with the driver. People are often disappointed in a ’bus-driver because they expect a wit and a pretty swearer. They find neither, but they find an overworked man of extraordinary cheerfulness, responsive, ready to laugh. He is master of his business—a fact emphasized by the fog—to a degree refreshing to one whose experience of men professing some practical calling is that the great majority, some from mere stupidity, some from over-hasty enthusiasm, are quite incompetent. When finally I left him, his mate piloted me through wheels and horses to the pavement, and I felt I had been among folk who deserve to live. On Sunday night I walked a mile to my abode, and made a point of asking my whereabouts of every one I met. Not one church or even hurried answer: politeness, jokes, reminiscences, laughter. We are a kindly people, and it is worth a fog to know it. Another pleasure of a fog is a mild but extended form of the pleasure we feel when we hear that a millionaire has broken his leg. The too fortunate are suffering a discontent health cannot remove. There was in that block a fat brougham containing an important-looking old man who foamed at the mouth, and one reflected that there was a temporary equality of fourtunes.

Such are the pleasures we may take in a London fog.

G . S.斯特里特





(高健 译)

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